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Warren County officials discuss 2013 'legislative wish-list'

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

At Tuesday morning's work session in Front Royal, the Warren County Board of Supervisors discussed three items that County Attorney Blair Mitchell sees fit to take to the General Assembly next year.

One item would amend the county code to authorize the county to raise its meals tax by an additional 2 cents. The increase would then be transferred to Front Royal as revenue sharing. Mitchell pointed out that this was dependent on an agreement being reached between the town and county.

Mitchell said that if the amendment took place, a referendum would be necessary, and instead could be adopted by the board after a public hearing.

"This talks specifically to the corridor and a possible remedy for the issues we've had with the town," said County Administrator Doug Stanley. "We can get the town back to where they think they should be."

Depending on how the amendment is written, the county could limit the increase to specific areas.

"You could just limit it to the [U.S. 522] corridor," Mitchell said.

"This is not a tax that the restaurant would be paying, but it would instead come from the individual customer," said Chairman Archie Fox.

The legislation will be brought up at the next town and county liaison meeting on May 17.

"It's a win-win for the town and county, because it resolves a long-standing issue with the town," Stanley said. "It provides equivalent revenue and doesn't take away from our so called piece of the pie."

The board also agreed to request legislation that would allow the county to make it a Class 3 or 4 misdemeanor for individuals who use skates, skateboard, BMX bicycles or scooters at a publicly owned skate facility without wearing a safety helmet.

Mitchell said this is something that the Parks and Recreation Department has been struggling to enforce in the county.

Additionally, board members discussed amending a section of the county code that would allow Warren County to levy transient occupancy taxes on condominiums, apartments, town houses and similar buildings for short-term vacation type rentals, or places that are rented our for less than 30 days.

Mitchell said he hopes to have board members meet with the county's four legislators sometime before fall.

"We need to let them know the county's legislative agenda," he said. "Also, it's always good for the town to support these items for when we do meet with the legislators."

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